everything He gives

This past spring, my husband decided to surprise our two-year-old daughter with a bird feeder, so she could watch the birds and learn about them.  We hung it and slowly the birds began to take notice.  Then, much to my amusement, we began to observe the birds (and squirrels) getting protective and greedy and territorial about the bird feeder.  Some birds were fighting other hungry birds off, claiming this food as theirs.

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It struck me to the core.  I wanted to tell the greedy birds, “You didn’t secure this food for yourselves.  I put it here.  And it’s not yours, it’s for all of you.  And there will be enough to share.  Enough for each of you.  You don’t have to hoard it and protect it for fear that it will run out.  I will keep it full.”

Immediately this question came to mind: “And what do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor.4:7).

I am so like those birds.. getting greedy and protective and boastful about things that are all GIFTS, things that I have received.  There isn’t one thing I have that I didn’t receive, even my own life & existence.

What joy and freedom there is in that truth.  It didn’t come by my hand.  It won’t stay because of my hand.  It’s not in my control.  Yes, it can be a fearful admission because if I’m not in control, I must trust.  But the freedom comes and the joy comes when I remember WHOM I am trusting.  He is good.  He is LOVE.

Thus began the idea for the theme of this blog.  What do I have that I have not first received??  And what is the best thing to do with a gift?  To pour it out.  To keep giving it.  To let another be blessed by it.  To include and to share and to bring others in.

That’s part of trust.  Trusting that it won’t run out, it won’t fail.  Because the One who is giving is a tireless Giver.

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Emily Freeman says in her latest (and so awesome!) book, A Million Little Ways, that we are “colanders filled with glory-water.  Our best efforts are spent trying to cover the seeping holes with not enough fingers.  God’s glory demands display.  Yet sometimes when we get a glimpse of it, when we taste something we come alive doing, when we feel that sense of purpose wake up within us, we become terrified.  And so instead, we spend our time looking for plastic bags to catch it before it pours out, wasted.  We want something more sensible, more practical.  Something like a jar with a lid.  No holes.  No glory leaks.  Let’s control it, contain it.  Let’s be reasonable” (p.27-28).

I want to let the glory leak.  Not to be reasonable or safe or contained or selfish or afraid.  But to entrust myself to Jesus, and to pour out whatever He gives me, faltering though I am.

This peculiar journey began a few years ago when I read Ann Voskamp‘s book One Thousand Gifts and began to see all of life as a gift, began to wake up to the truth that all is grace.  God shifted something in me then.  As a wife and a stay-at-home momma to two precious children, I began to trace His grace in the crazy, stressful, joyful, mundane, full and ordinary life He has given me.  To see the moments as grace.  The smiles, the tears, the meals cooked, the laundry, the bills, the laughter, the adventures and the day-to-day routine.. beautiful, ordinary, common grace.  But in that, discovering the extravagant and lavish grace in what I have always called “common.”

And so.. this blog.. a place where I can record, pour out, share, exult in everything He gives.

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